Southend Airport drugs mule sentencing delayed
The sentencing of a drugs mule who tried to smuggle cannabis through Southend Airport has been postponed for the second time in a week due to bungling translators and prison officers.
Spaniard Juan Puebla, 51, who is currently in custody, admitted smuggling 1.153kg of cannabis resin. He came over to Britain with the class B drug on an easyJet flight from Malaga to Southend Airport on August 28.
He was due to be sentenced at Basildon Crown Court on Monday, but Chelmsford Prison did not bring him to court, nor did a Spanish interpreter turn up, in what Judge David Owen- Jones described as a “disgrace”.
The sentence was adjourned until yesterday, but it was botched again after the same errors.
Explaining the farce, Puebla’s solicitor, Christopher Whitcombe, said Chelmsford Prison could not find him on their system as he has doublebarrelled first and surnames, going by the name of Juan- Carlos Puebla-Rejon.
Meanwhile, a translator failed to turn up again, despite the court making contact with Capita, which was supposed to be providing one.
Judge David Owen-Jones, said: “It is common that Spanish have double-barrelled names. There are enough Spaniards in Chelmsford Prison for them to be aware the first surname is the one alphabetically listed.
“And why is the interpreter not here? It is Capita’s fault as the court made contact and nobody turned up, which is a disgrace. We need an explanation from Capita, otherwise this will continue time and again – cases will be adjourned and these people are in custody and they should not be held up by a lack of personnel.”
The drugs were worth £2,900. The court heard he has a previous conviction for low level drug trafficking in Spain in 2012.
The sentencing has been relisted for Thursday at Basildon Crown Court.